Head Coach John Harbaugh
On his evaluation of how QB Joe Flacco has done overall:"I think you have to say he's done well. He's 2-1, he's played well in all three games, rookie quarterback, first three games all in the division – he's played well."
On the Titans' defensive line: "They're one of the best defenses in the league, period. Certainly, one of the best D-lines. [On] the left side there are two Pro Bowl players, and then you forget about Jevon Kearse on the right side. They've got four really good players in there, so it's going to be a challenge for our offensive line. Probably as good as we've seen this year."
On experiencing his first loss as an NFL head coach:"I've lost games before. [If] you're a head coach, you're an assistant coach, you're a player, [then] you've lost games before. So really, it wasn't any different. It was disappointing. And, [we have] a lot of great things to build off of, and we're moving forward."
On whether the Titans are as good as their reputation:"Yes. Tennessee is as good as their reputation. They are a very good football team."
On the status of NT Kelly Gregg:"With Kelly right now, we're sending his MRI pictures to a couple of other doctors. It's a very unusual injury from what I'm told. It's responding somewhat, and we just want to get another feel for what it is. We should know something this week more."
On if there is any chance Gregg might play against the Titans:"No. No chance he's available this week."
On striking the balance with winning and developing a young quarterback like Joe Flacco:"As far as his development versus winning? Is that kind of the question? We're not going to box ourselves into a corner that if Joe doesn't win he's going to be out or if he does win he's going to stay. It depends on what gives us the best chance to win the next week. Troy Smith is back in the mix. I would anticipate down the road Troy playing. He makes our team stronger. To what capacity, I think events will determine. We're developing Joe. That's very important. Winning the next game is the most important issue in front of us week to week. I haven't really thought about defining it. I'm not sure if I want to box myself in. But, no, we haven't said, 'Hey, we're going to develop Joe at the expense of winning, for sure.' And, winning is the No. 1 priority, but developing Joe is a priority. Developing Troy is a priority. Developing our young offensive line – it's all a priority, really."
On whether he envisions using Smith in specialized situations or plays:"We can definitely envision Troy playing. Troy's a really good football player. He's proven that. And, he's going to be on the field for us this year in some form or fashion, for sure."
On getting TE Todd Heap more involved in the passing game:"He's one of our playmakers, and we wanted him involved from the get-go. We're going to continue to work and he's going to continue to work to be involved in the passing game. He's done the things we've asked him to do in terms of blocking, run blocking and pass blocking. Sure, we want him catching more balls, and we're going to keep working on it to make sure that happens. It's really important for us to do that."
On the longevity of Jeff Fisher as the Titans' head coach:"Obviously, what they've done there – from the Houston Oilers through what they've done with the Titans – is about as impressive as probably has been done in the NFL in a long time, certainly, in my span of time in the NFL. He's been the longest-tenured coach. It's very difficult to do because very few people have done it. Obviously, they know what they're doing, and complements to them and to coach Fisher."
QB Joe Flacco
On earning the admiration of fans:"It's always good. I think everybody's been good. From the very first day I've been here, they've been supportive and on my side. We have great fans, so that's what I expect. That's what they've been all about from Day One."
On whether he feels like saying, "I told you so," to those who doubted his ability to start immediately:"No, there's no, 'I told you so.' I'm just glad to be out there playing and helping the team out. I think that's all that matters."
On if things have been easier than expected for him:"I'm in here working hard every week, and I'm going to go out there and give it my all every week. There are going to be good times, and there are going to be bad times. It's been pretty good so far. We've had a lot of different learning experiences where we've been successful, and we've had some bad times. It's all good for us as a team to grow and learn from it. I think later in the season, we'll benefit from a lot of these things that are going on."
On how much he has improved over the past month:"I couldn't even tell you; it's just so much. Any time you're able to go out there and get three NFL games under your belt and all the practice time, I can't even guesstimate how much better I've become because of it. I think it's huge for the learning curve to get out there and experience it for yourself."
On where he has seen the most improvement:"I think a lot of it is mental for me. You're just going out there and adjusting to the speed of the game and getting comfortable with the game plan each week, looking at defenses, learning how to prepare. Playing is the only way you can experience a lot of these things. You can get better sitting and watching, but I don't think you'll get better as quickly. That's what I've been about from Day One. I've been fortunate enough to be put in that position."
On the Titans' ability to generate pressure with their front four:"It's always good for a defense when they can bring pressure with their front four and go back and cover and be confident like that. But, you know, we have a good offensive line, and they've been doing a great job on the year. We're going to expect those guys to be working hard this game and give us some time back there to throw. We're going to go execute our game plan. No matter what they do, I think we plan on being successful. But that's going to come on Sunday. We've got a lot of hard work to do this week, and we'll do that and we'll get it done on Sunday."
On his chemistry with WR Derrick Mason:"Derrick's great. He's a veteran player that's proven himself over the years. He's a guy that you know is going to win for you and is going to make plays for you on Sunday. Any time all things are equal, you know you can look for him to win free and get the job done."
On how it felt getting his first loss:"It's a little different coming into work when you haven't won the game before that. But, in all reality, you've got to put it behind you, and you've got to move on because we've got another abnormal week coming up. We played Monday. This is a short week. We've got to get ready for Sunday. As much it kind of stinks to lose, you've got to put it behind you and move on. It's going to happen in the NFL sometimes. We kind of left one out there, and Pittsburgh took it from us. We've got to move on. Like I said earlier, we'll get better from all these things that are happening to us. Losing to those guys, we're going to have to find something else to get better from, and I'm sure we'll do that."
On Tennessee's defense:"They've been a good defense over the last few years. Teams like that, they've always had a good defense. That's why they've won games the last couple years. They're successful. Obviously, they're a good, physical team that loves to stop the run and put some pressure on you if they can. Like I said, that's what all teams are about. We're going to go execute our game plan and just do what we do."
On what lesson he takes from the Pittsburgh game:"Obviously, we want to limit our sacks. We don't want to lose yardage, and we don't want to turn the ball over. As long as we take care of the ball and limit our sacks and make a few plays, we've got a great defense on our side of the ball. That'll give us a lot of help, and we should be good."
On defensive players giving him encouragement on the sidelines:"It's always good. You know our defense is out there playing as hard as they can. You like to see that they understand that you're out there doing the same thing. That's what we're doing. We're out there playing hard. We understand that things are going to go bad [sometimes], and they do, too. That's why they give us their support, and it feels good to have that."
LB Ray Lewis
On why he says it's personal when other teams run on the Ravens' defense:"It's the bottom line. Running on any defense is the main challenge, and when the coaches go into the game plan and say we can run on this team, they're telling you that they are basically going to out-physical the team. And, that's why it's always personal. Because any time somebody buckles up their chin straps and say we're going to run the ball 30 or 40 times, then they're telling you that we feel that our offensive line can get to your defensive line and we can get to your linebackers, things like that."
On what has been the key to the Ravens' defense being one of the best run defenses the last 10 years:"It's personal; it's personal. That, and the people take it that personal, it just really is. Me being around here for as long, as I've been around here, it's just the bottom line. Every new person who comes in here, the first thing I say is, 'There's something we don't do, and that's we don't let people run the ball.' It's kind of the thing that we all buy into from Day One, and when the ball is snapped, everybody has to find the football."
On the rivalry between the Ravens and the Titans:"Here we go again; here we go again. Those teams always come back up. We were once in the division together to where we had one of the more classic rivalries, and now we're still back to another type of rivals. They're playing great, great football over there, and we're playing good football. So, here we go again. You see some of the same old faces. [Jevon] Kearse, of course, went to another team and now he's back playing at a high level and things like that. They really have their defense playing great, and they're running the ball extremely well and things like that. I just overall think it's going to be a good matchup."
On whether Titans QB Vince Young has sought his counsel and advice as many other players do:"Yeah, I've talked to Vince. We briefly talked about a couple of things and things like that. There are a lot of guys I talk to. I had at least a 45-minute conversation yesterday with Patrick Willis, which is always good. [He's] one of my youngsters and we talk over a lot of off-the-field, on-the-field things. It's just a good way to always connect with a lot of guys."
On whether he's discussed with Young how he's feeling mentally:"No, actually I haven't talked to him since he's been hurt or anything like that."
On how the Tennessee offense has changed without Young in the lineup:"I think it's pretty much the same offense outside of a lot of quarterback drawls and things they used to do with Vince, and of course, they're not going to do that with Kerry [Collins]. He's not as mobile as Vince. If you see their package, their package is pretty much the same. They want to run the ball with LenDale [White], they want to pick Chris Johnson on the edge and really use his speed like that. They're really still doing the same things. Kerry Collins is making a lot of big throws for them. He has a real big arm. I just think they're doing the things they normally do outside of a lot of scrambling things with Vince."
On whether the Titans' speed is a big factor:"I think speed is always a big factor, but everybody in this league is fast one way or another. Whether it's a Willie Parker, whether it's a Fred Taylor, anybody. Chris Johnson is another guy who has a lot of speed. A lot of guys that you see with speed like that, like a Chris Johnson, he doesn't have that much size. You just don't want to let him get on the edge and keep him inside."
On whether he feels Collins is much different today than when the Ravens played him in the Super Bowl:"I couldn't tell you. I haven't watched him like that. [Today] will probably be the first day [of practice] before I get on Kerry Collins [film]. I said, I just think as a team they're playing [well] overall as a team, and I think [Collins], being a veteran in this game, he's managing the game pretty well – playing to their defense. And, I think that's why they're 4-0."
WR Derrick Mason
On how he would rate Joe Flacco's performance overall this season:"I think he's done a great job. I think he's been able to do what we anticipated him doing, and that's to go out and run the offense, make plays when we need to make plays and be smart with the ball. Joe has done all of that. So, I think he's right where this organization wants him at this point in time. He might be ahead of the curve a little bit."
On the rivalry between the Ravens and Titans, his former team:"They look forward to it because it's another game and we look forward to it because of basically the same thing: It's another opportunity for us to go out there and try to pick up a victory. Especially coming off of a hard-fought Monday night game, we want to try to get a victory. That's how we're looking at it."
On how important Baltimore vs. Tennessee was for him when he played for the Titans:"I think each year when I was in Tennessee, and it seems so long ago, but when I was there it had some type of playoff implications and the stakes were always high playing this team. Once we got out of the division we usually played them toward the end of the season and always something was at stake. So, tensions were high because [the Ravens] knew they had to have the game and we knew we had to have the game. It's always an added incentive when you're playing a very good team and the situation is such that you have to win this game in order to get to the playoffs. Now, it's a whole different scenario. It's early in the season and it's just a game that we're looking to go out there and play the way we've been playing the last three games and try to pick up the victory."
On if his strategy has to change because of the Titans' defense being able to pressure the quarterback:"I think our offense line is doing a good job – a great job, actually. [In] this game, you're going to get pressure on the quarterback at times. That's why teams scheme up blitzes and all types of other defensive schemes to try to get at the quarterback. Tennessee is good at rushing with their front four and putting pressure on the quarterback, but that's nothing that we haven't seen. I'm pretty sure the offensive line will do what's necessary to protect Joe, and I think Joe will do what's necessary to get the ball out of his hands when he needs to."
On whether he spends extra time working with Flacco or is there natural chemistry between them:"It developed really the last two games of preseason, and then it has gone on from there. Joe's a very smart quarterback and he understands the game a lot better than a lot of other young quarterbacks would. I think the chemistry has been building not just with me, but with [Mark] Clayton and Demetrius [Williams] and the other guys. He's been doing a good job. We get together after practice, walking off the field, and discuss some things that we need to discuss as far as the passing game or go over some [things] we might not have hit in practice. I think that only helps the passing game. So that, coupled with some other things, has allowed us to do some things in the passing game."
On what the he and the offense may have learned new about Flacco from the Pittsburgh game:"I didn't learn anything new about Joe that I hadn't already [known]. The guy is a competitor. Mentally, he's tough. He is maturing. I say this every week, but he's maturing. The more and more he's out there on the field, he's maturing as a quarterback, and it was evident [in Pittsburgh]. You can pick out some games here and there, but this last game when we needed to score to put it into overtime, Joe did it. He was cool out there, and that's what you've got to have in your quarterback."
On whether he wishes he would have been more vociferous in insisting that he was in bounds for the touchdown in the Monday night game: "I'm going to look up that word in the dictionary. No. It is what it is. I'm not going to sit there and [talk about it] because we had to hurry up and get back on the ball. I'm not going to sit there and argue the catch with the ref, because as I'm arguing the clock is going down. They said it wasn't a catch; I didn't bobble the ball. I went back to the huddle, and then it's up to the coaches whether they want to make the call whether to [challenge] it or not. I guess they didn't see enough to replay it. And that's cool, because we came back and we scored."
On the Titans' defense and why they don't get mentioned as a top-10 defense in the league:"They don't? Man, I believe they are the top two or three in the league in total defense. For this team not to be mentioned defensively, it baffles me, because they have a long tradition of being a very good defense and nothing has changed this year. They have a very good defense. Those guys up front do a great job of getting to the passer. I think they have one of the best outside linebackers in [Keith] Bulluck, who is very ranging at what he does. He can get to the ball and get to the quarterback, cover tight ends and back up the backfield. And then, their back end is playing very well. I don't know who decided to look at defenses and say that this is not one of the best defenses in the league. Year-in and year-out, coach [Jeff] Fisher has those guys playing very well on that side of the ball."
On if he does more at this point in his career to outsmart defensive backs:"I've been, and I don't know why, extremely blessed. Of course, as you get a little bit older things start to diminish. But, I've been extremely blessed to be able to still keep the quickness about me and learning from each and every coach that I've come across. Coach [Jim Hostler] has done an excellent job at making sure I continue that pattern of learning and making sure I continue to hone in on what I need to do as a wide receiver. Clayton and Demetrius, they keep me going, too. I do a lot in the offseason, so when I get in-season my job is a lot easier. My offseason is harder than the actual season. I try to do as much as I can, so when it becomes the regular season I'm ready to go."
DT Haloti Ngata
On the defense's performance against Pittsburgh:"I felt like our defense played great. We had a couple three-and-outs and did a lot of good things. We've just got to get Big Ben [Roethlisberger] down. He's a big guy, and he made plays off of those times we could've hit him and brought him down. We know we can play, and hopefully we can keep that intensity and get a win this weekend."
On why the defense has such success stopping the run:"We practice it all the time. It's something we take pride in. Our front seven, we really hone in on what we need to do, if it's me holding up two guys for our 'backers to get through... If I have one guy, I'm expecting to make the play. There's kind of a trust we have in each other. We practice it and kind of have that feel for each other because we've been around each other for awhile now."
On whether he's playing at a level he never has before:"Yeah, I feel like I am. [I'm] starting to get to know more – not just by myself, but offenses, formations, tendencies and stuff like that – all the way from coaching and how to become more of a student of the game."
On how a short week affects preparation:"Today, I'm a little sore, stiff. A lot of guys are. I think we've just got to get that mental part in. Today's a big mental day for us. It's going to be big for us to get to know their offense and our offense to know their defense. It'll just be a big mental day today."
On preparing for a team like Tennessee that likes to run the ball:"I'm just getting ready to play the run. I love when teams like to run. I love to stop it. The more they run, the more stats I can get, hopefully. I love to stop the run, but hopefully we can make them a one-dimensional team. They are good at running the ball, and [Kerry] Collins is great at passing it, too. So we've got to get that down, too."
On his impression of Titans RB LenDale White:"Big, strong, powerful guy. He's a big guy, and he'll run it down in between the tackles. He'll also pop out and run it out there, too, outside the tackles. He's a great athlete, and hopefully we can just get him down. That Chris Johnson kid, he's also just a real fast kid."
On if they notice and adjust the defense based on which back is in the game:"Kind of. LenDale White, I played against him at USC. Reggie Bush and LenDale White, they kind of had that [situation where] LenDale White was the power guy and Reggie Bush was the big playmaker guy. That's kind of like what it is now. You kind of know what they're going to do, but LenDale White can still run outside the tackles and make those plays. But Chris Johnson definitely loves to run sweeps and stuff like that because he's so fast. I don't blame him, you know?"
On whether the defense can anticipate what might be coming with the different backs:"I guess, yeah, you can. LenDale White's going to run it down to you. Chris Johnson is going to run outside."
On how he approaches one-on-one battles along the line:"I try to win more, but you kind of just focus on your guy. That's how you get open. If you can beat your guy, that's how you can make those tackles. A lot of the time when I'm trying to get to the ball carrier, I'm just reading the offensive linemen and trying to make those plays."
On becoming a focal point of opposing offensive lines:"I feel like offensive linemen are focusing more on me. It's better for us because Ray Lewis can run around now and make those plays. Hopefully, I can just hold those guys down. I probably won't get as many plays, but it's all right – whatever's good for the team."
LB Bart Scott
On how tough Tennessee is:"They're a tough team. They're pretty much like ourselves – play solid defense, run the football, try to have a quarterback that manages the game. Our mission, of course, is trying to stop the run and try not to let Albert Haynesworth run crazy on us."
On Haynesworth:"I think him and Haloti [Ngata] are the only two players like they are in this league. I think a lot of guys are either one or the other. They're not just space-eaters. They're athletic players. They're not the Casey Hampton or the Jamal Williams-type bodies. They're the athletic, muscular, not pot-bellied bellies. No offense to those guys, but you know what I mean."
On Titans RB Chris Johnson:"He's a speedy guy. He's playing well. I think him and the guy from Dallas [Felix Jones] are probably the two rookies who are playing the best at that position right now. An explosive player, change-of-pace back, [he'll] create a great challenge for us. We pride ourselves on being a fast defense, and we're going to have to be fast in pursuit because he's a quick guy."
On whether he's put Monday's loss behind him:"Yeah, my body hasn't, though. We'll work that out. Tough loss. You've got to move on because if you don't, then you'll be sitting in this locker room Monday worrying about what happened to the last loss."
On if not having a bye week later in the season will catch up to him physically:"I'm still a young guy. At least, I like to think that. I've learned different ways and different players learn different ways to take care of your body. Me, I get three massages a week, two by my therapist and one at the spa. That's how I maintain my sanity."
On the importance of getting pressure on the quarterback with four players:"Because now, you just close up a window. A lot of times, when there are eight in the box, it's pretty much man-to-man on the back side. The quarterback knows at least he has an outlet to the 'X,' which is usually the single receiver on the back side."
On starting the Titans game fast:"We've just got to come out and use our crowd to our advantage, use the energy and momentum that we have and just come out strong. Start fast and finish fast. Finish this time."
On what he knows about Titans QB Kerry Collins:"I'm going to sit down and ask Ray [Lewis]. Ray played against him in the Super Bowl, so I'm going to sit down and try to learn all the secrets. I'll talk to Ray a little later."
On the difference between Collins and QB Vince Young:"I'm definitely not going to be worried about [Collins] as a run threat. He may try to pull the ball down like that, but I think he was timed with a sundial – if you're going to worry about his 40 now. A guy like [Young] is different because you've got a guy that can get out of the pocket. You really can't account for that quarterback with the football when you're dropping in coverage. But, when you have a pocket quarterback, it allows you to kind of know where he is and to prep for handling him."
On whether one style of quarterback is tougher to stop than the other:"It poses a different problem. Running quarterbacks give you opportunities for turnovers and to put them out of the game. Their feet aren't set, and when you run around you can't read, a lot of times, down the field. But a pocket quarterback whose eyes are always downfield and is not going to be rattled by pressure can hurt you in another way because he can make all his reads and go through all his progressions."
On if the defense changes for Johnson and RB LenDale White:"Let's see, a slow guy and a fast guy. Of course it changes. LenDale is a between-the-tackles runner. That's obvious, right? You watch the games, right? You could've answered that question."
On what message he has for the home fans:"Just come out. This is an opportunity for us to be able to get off the ball fast and make it hard for their tackles to hear the snap count so we can have our opportunity to get off the ball and create opportunities for ourselves."
Tennessee TitansHead Coach Jeff Fisher
On if he considers the Titans' 4-0 start a surprise:"Well, I mean I think everybody, you know, you expect to get off to a good start. And, we've just been fortunate that we've been protecting the football and have found ways to win. But we're not surprised. We're kind of all about that 'one week at a time' thing, you know, where you come in and you prepare and you respect your opponent and you put a game plan together and go out and do the best you can to execute."
On if this is a part of the plan to rebuild the team:"This is a really fun team. It's a really good group of guys. They've been committed for several years now and have had a great offseason program and a real productive training camp. We're not there yet, I mean I'd still say, like anybody, you're looking to upgrade. But, I'm happy right now with their attitude and their work ethic, and they police themselves and they have fun and work hard, and they expect to win. Like I said, they respect their opponents and they know the games are going to be hard. They just trust each other to find a way to win the game."
On what QB Kerry Collins has meant to the team:"Kerry came in under unusual circumstances a couple of years ago. He came in early in the week before the fourth preseason game, particularly because we wanted some veteran leadership and we were hoping to get a veteran in here to kind of mentor, if you will, Vince [Young] his rookie year. And, Kerry did well enough for us in the week and a half that we elected to start him, and he was just improving weekly. Of course, we shifted gears and decided to go with Vince, and he's accepted his role, he really enjoys it here. Now he's settled here in Nashville and he looks forward to coming out, and prior to us making the move several weeks ago he has just been a really, really great support system for Vince. He challenges the defense, when he's working against the defense, and had a good offseason. [He] got in great shape and things kind of happened the way they did. We turned it over to him, and he's been very efficient for us."
On if Collins stays the starting quarterback if the team keeps winning:"Yes. I made that statement several weeks ago."
On the renewing of the rivalry between the Titans and the Ravens:"Yeah, there are memories, and there are just a few people that will go ahead and share those left on the roster. We have so many guys that are unfamiliar with the Ravens, and that's the challenge with us. It was a challenge for us last week because we hadn't seen the Vikings in years. I think in the NFL, you're ability to familiarize yourself with your opponent each week really has to do with the success level that you have. As far as the rivalries and all that kind of stuff, these are two good, well-built teams, similar in nature in that they like to run the football and play good defense. And, it's just going to be a great ballgame."
On if it will be different not seeing former Ravens head coach Brian Billick on the sideline:"You know, I really haven't given it any thought. Brian had a great deal of success there and the organization decided to go a different direction, and I'm very, very impressed right now with the job that John [Harbaugh] has done."
On if memories of playing against ILB Ray Lewis are good or bad:"Ray's a great defensive player, and he's still playing really at a really high level. As coaches, if you've been around long enough, you have to respect that, and I've always had a respect for Ray. I've spoken with Ray numerous times off the field, offseason, and I'm just really, really glad to see he's still playing the high level and that he's the leader of that defense."
On what impresses him most from watching the Ravens' tape:"They're just very well-coached. Their offense, Cam [Cameron] has done a great job with the offense. He's committed to run the football, and they do a great job of protecting the quarterback. The young quarterback is playing very well. I think they've worked hard. You can tell they've worked hard and they're disciplined. Their defense is, really it's always a problem. They do a great job. They pressure the passer and they take things away. They're good at tackling; they're very physical. This is a well-coached football team."
On if he considers the Titans' defense to be grouped with the elite defenses:"We're just kind of taking in one week at a time. You know, we've got a young secondary that's gelling. Our linebackers are healthy. We've got a rotation on our defensive front. Our defense is patient, they respect challenges and they take on challenges. I don't know if I'd put them in the class of the Ravens' defense, but we're just kind of a one-week-at-a-time defense, enjoying what we do and having fun playing."
On their defense's success in pressuring the quarterback:"I think if you look closely at our game, our pressure, our success has come in passing situations. We've been able to get up, you know, 10, 14 points at the end of the third, fourth quarter and create a situation where the opponent had to throw. You should get pressure. But, our pressure is not coming necessarily against a balanced attack, and that's the one thing that the Ravens do a great job of. They don't allow you to pressure the passer. They're going to get the ball out, or they're going to play-action, take their shots. But, they're not going to put themselves in a situation, or at least they haven't, where they've had to throw to catch up."
On what's impressed him about Ravens QB Joe Flacco:"There's the poise, number one. He's very poised. He was poised in the opener – we watched that very closely because we played Cincinnati the next week. He has those instincts in the pocket which you can't teach, where you can move around in the pocket and feel the rush, but still keep your eyes downfield. That says a lot. He's going to be a very good quarterback."
On the importance of DT Albert Haynesworth:"When he's on the field, which has been a lot lately, he's been disruptive. He's, I think, much better at rushing the passer, can create some matchups. He's been versatile for us. We've been able to line him up sometimes at end or tackle. On early downs he's playing the run well. He's a force in there, and he's getting better each week. You know he had a hamstring [injury] at camp, or a hamstring last year, but had some issues. [He] missed some time at camp, but he's coming on and he's a good player. We're just glad to have him in there."
On if this is as good as Haynesworth has played, or if he's played better in the past:"He had a stretch last year where he was very, very disruptive. I'm hoping – and I'm seeing the same things – I'm hoping he's getting back to that."
On his longevity as head coach of the Titans:"I'm very fortunate. It starts at the top, and I've got a very supportive owner. Mr. Adams understands the league and he understands that there are going to be down times, that your team could be affected by injuries, that there are salary cap issues that you have to go through, and he's been very patient. He knows that I'm committed to one thing, and I have just been very fortunate to have his support throughout."
On how important it is to him to be able to run the football, and also to stop the run:"Those are fundamental principles that we installed in our philosophy years and years ago. Sometimes it was hard for us to accomplish that, but I think you have to do that to win ball games. It's become a priority of ours, that we built our team around that. If you could place playmakers on the perimeter then you're better off because of that. But, I also think it's important to look at your team and see where you are late in the offseason and through camp and determine what your strengths are and then go ahead and try to make the most of them. And then, you push through, you try to develop your weaknesses. But, the fundamental principles, I think, of winning in the National Football League over years and over time, have been running the football and stopping the run."
On if he takes pride in the Titans' running game:"Oh yeah. Ask an offensive lineman what he'd rather do. And, when you get good offensive linemen in there, and you get five of them that would much rather run it than throw it 60 times a game, and you're able to do it successfully, it just kind of snowballs for you. But, we've been fortunate to plug people in and I'm very, very happy with the play and the production of our offensive line, and the stability that we now have at the tackles position. You know, we've got some depth and they like to run it. They love to lay out opponents, respect their opponents, as I said, and they know this week in particular is going to be a huge challenge for us. But, I'm going to wage a guess that they'll be up for it."
On his expectations for returning to form after the purge:"You know, you never really… Even with you have to make those tough decisions, you expect to be able to do some things all along the way. I was a little, I guess in retrospect, a little disappointed in the '04 and the '05 seasons, but we battled through it. We took advantage of a lot of draft choices and developed some young players. I saw it turning, despite the 0-5 start a couple of years ago, I saw it turning. Probably more important than the improvement of the talent level was the personality of this team. They, for some reason, really liked each other and kind of developed that sense of commitment to one another, and we dug out of that 0-5 start, were a quarter away from making the playoffs. And then, we got things put together last year and were improved. We made it to the playoffs, fortunately, and obviously the goal never changes every year. This year, certainly, we have higher goals than we've had in years past, but it's still very early."
On how the team with the 0-5 start came together:"Those are trade secrets."
On playing against Ravens CB Samari Rolle, WR Derrick Mason and FB Lorenzo Neal, all former Titans:"I'm proud of them. I'm just really happy that they've extended their careers and have been as productive for as long as they have. We've had a number of players who have come through the program and moved on who are still playing, and you always welcome them back. Rarely do you get that opportunity. This offseason we got the opportunity to bring one back, that being Jevon [Kearse]. I'm very happy to have him back, as he is."
On if the 2000 playoff game against the Ravens will come to mind this week:"No, it won't. When I'm asked about it, and asked to discuss about it, yeah it comes up, but no, I don't dwell on it. It was, in my opinion, it was the two best teams in the National Football League who happened to play way too early in the playoffs."
On if he can compare this team to others he's coached that have done well:"No. You know, every team's different. This start certainly is different, but we're just kind of a lunch pail group that comes to work, looks forward to coming to work, likes to practice and hopes things work out on Sundays. That's obviously going to be our same approach this week."
On defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz:"Jimmy's done a great job. Jimmy had an opportunity to work for Gregg [Williams], and Gregg's defenses also stopped the run, and that's an emphasis here. Jim does it a little bit differently, but it's very, very important to him. I have been very fortunate to have coordinators that understand the game, and that don't battle during the offseason or at training camps and the just work to develop a team concept. And, Jim understands that. He's worked very well with Mike [Heimerdinger] when we're working together, and during the ballgame he understands the flow, as Mike does, and what it takes to win. Jim's just very, very bright and the players have a great deal of respect for him, and when he speaks they listen and they trust that he's going to put them in the best possible position to make plays and win games."
On the addition of Earnest Byner as the running backs coach:"Earnest has come in, and what better situation can you come into, when you come into a new program, is that you get a first-round pick. So there's pressure there, but thus far it's worked out for him. He's got a good group of guys who work hard and like to play. He's a very solid motivator and good teacher."
On if RB Chris Johnson has surprised him:"No, there's been no surprises. You don't draft someone in the first round with question marks. We had high expectations for him, we were very excited he was there. He's off to a real solid start as a rookie, and I expect him to improve as the year goes on."
On QB Vince Young:"Vince had a good week last week, from a rehab standpoint. On the field, he got a really good workout yesterday. We're going to evaluate him today. As far as his status for Sunday, I can't comment on that right now."
On the Ravens' defense:"They're good. I mean, yeah, they're real good. They understand defense. They play hard and they finish and they tackle. There are a lot of similarities back to the team in 2000."
QB Kerry Collins
On Ravens QB Joe Flacco:"I watched the game a little bit last night – I think I saw the second half of the game – and I thought he made some great throws. It seems like he's got good poise for a rookie. It seems like he's showing good poise and is back there just reading things out and throwing the ball well. Obviously, he's got a strong arm, and he's got a pretty good head about him. So, I was pretty impressed."
On if Flacco reminds him of himself:"I think a little bit in the same mold, you know. We're not going to run around a whole lot. Both pocket passers and a taller guy who seems to have a strong arm, so yeah, I think we're probably cut out of a similar mold."
On any advice for Flacco:"I would say just keep doing what he's doing. It looks like he's doing a good job. We saw him play when we were getting ready for the Bengals, and it looked like he did well there. Just keep learning week to week and just keep trying to make good reads and good throws."
On if his last start against the Ravens' defense in the 2000 Super Bowl seems that long ago:"It does. Obviously, we're going on eight years now, so a lot of time has gone by, and certainly a lot of football has gone by since then. I certainly still have vivid memories of the game, most of which were not so good, but my hat's off to them. They were a good team, and a great defense, and it was a good job on their part."
On what he remembers about how that defense game-planned against him when he was with the NY Giants:"Their team speed was just tremendous. They were all over the field, and obviously a well-coached bunch – smart players, very sound in what they did, and obviously very talented. But, that was by far the best defense I've ever played against. Like I said, my hat's off to them."
On what he sees out of this Ravens defense:"I mean, I think they bring the same attitude. They're aggressive, obviously. They've got good leaders over there. Ray [Lewis] is still playing at a very high level and they're active. They show you a lot of different things, a lot of different looks. You've got to be on your toes and ready for everything they throw at you."
On the Titans' 4-0 start:"I think, first of all, I think we've played smart football. We haven't turned it over a whole lot. I think that's helped us out in a lot of games. I think we've been able to capitalize on some opportunities, especially in the red zone. Our red-zone offense this year is much better than it was last year. I think, obviously, we're built to run the ball and do things off of that in the passing game. So, we've been able to run that. I think our offensive line is playing real well. I think our skill guys are certainly capable of making plays. And, our defense is playing great, and really brought home the last couple of games for us, and really played great in all four of our wins."
On if he, when he became starting quarterback, encountered the same expectations given to QB Vince Young:"I'm not sure. I have high expectations for myself. Being my first time here, starting, my focus was just on running the offense and getting ready to play each week. I've gotten pretty good at shutting out the outside world and expectations and talk and all that stuff, so really I just wanted to focus in on what I was doing and try and prepare as well as I can."
On how he has done in the last three games:"I think I've played OK. I think my best game is still yet to come. I certainly think I've made good decisions for the most part. There's more plays, I think, out there to be made. Looking back on the games, I think there's some opportunities that I missed, but I think that's part of it. But, I think my preparation has been good. I think I've gone out and been comfortable and confident with what we're doing, and for the most part have executed things pretty well."
On if Young practiced today:"We haven't practiced yet."
On if Young is expected to practice today:"I don't know."
On if he's talked to Young recently:"I mean, he's around. I can't say that we've talked a lot this morning. We've been pretty busy with meetings and walk-through and stuff like that. I think he's in it, his head's in it. He's ready to go. If he's able to practice this week, I expect him to come back and have a good week."
On the play of RBs Chris Johnson and LenDale White:"Obviously, they're both very different types of running backs. LenDale is a kind of a grind-it-out, bigger guy who gets tough yardage between the tackles. Chris has the kind of speed that can get to the outside and break off bigger plays. It's nice. It's kind of similar to what we had in New York with Ron Dayne and Tiki [Barber]. They're good in that they complement each other. They're change-up backs. Certainly, both will be a big part of what we do each week."
On if the offense changes with their different running styles:"No. It doesn't change. Chris is a little bit better out of the backfield. I think he give us more out of backfield as far as the passing game and stuff like that. As far as our run game, it's all pretty much the same with both guys."
On if he was surprised to see Ravens DT Haloti Ngata playing pass defense:"Yeah, they'll drop guys out, and they'll act like they're rushing and drop out. It seems like they do it with a lot of guys, so that's one thing you have to be ready for. Certainly, that's the challenge with this defense. They give you a lot of looks. They give you some different things that you don't see every week, so you've got to be able to see everything and try to figure out where everyone is at."
On which Raven he looks for in pass coverage:"I think they're all good. Obviously, [Terrell] Suggs is a great player. They've got the ability to rush the passer from every spot. It's kind of one of those things where they give you so many looks and they give you different challenges from a protections standpoint, so we've got to be ready for anything because they'll throw a lot at you."